Sunday , July 21 2024
Home / FEATURED / Council of Europe: Greece must effectively investigate Pylos shipwreck

Council of Europe: Greece must effectively investigate Pylos shipwreck

Greece has a legal obligation to conduct effective investigations into the Pylos shipwreck, which resulted in the death of more than 80 persons with many hundreds still missing, Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic said in a letter addressed to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis released by Council on Friday.

“The Commissioner expresses concern about reports of pressure having been exercised on survivors and about allegations of irregularities in the collection of evidence and testimonies, which may have led to a minimisation of the focus on certain actors in this tragedy, including the Greek Coast Guard,” said a press release on the issue. The CoE release included links to both Mijatovic’s letter and the response by Migration and Asylum Minister Dimitris Kairidis, on behalf of the prime minister.

In addition, the commissioner also expressed concern at the survivors’ restrictions of movement and the way the asylum interviews had been conducted.

“In my view, the shipwreck of 14 June is unfortunately not an isolated incident,” the commissioner wrote to Mitsotakis. “The overall context in which the shipwreck occurred should be part of the various investigations but should also lead to a reconsideration of the approach to refugees and migrants arriving by sea at the political, policy and practical level, in order to avoid similar tragedies in the future. I urge you to ensure that Greece abides by its international obligations regarding search and rescue, both under maritime law and human rights law, in all circumstances.”

KTV post on shipwreck of Pylos

Migration minister
In his response, Kairidis spoke of the tragedy as a reminder that “desperate people undertake perilous journeys of irregular migration, falling victim to criminal smuggling syndicates that overload unseaworthy vessels on shores belong the reach of law enforcement.”

He said that the Pylos shipwreck “has fed a frenzy of criticism, which, in many cases, is politically motivted by advocates of an ‘open border’ agenda, preaching that all such tragedies can be averted by increasing Search and Rescue (SAR) capacity,” which he said is not true.” The root cause of the problem must be addressed, including the increase of legal pathways, he added.

Kairidis spoke of the Hellenic Coast Guard’s priority of saving lives at risk, noting that 245,000 migrants were rescued between 2015 and 2023 in over 1,800 SAR operations. In addition, he underlined, the shipwreck survivors were processed by fast-track methods at the Malakassa reception center, while the Greek Dublin Unit “initiated processing family reunification requests, sending them tot he authorities of the concerned EU member states,” which are still pending.

“As a free society, we have the greatest respect for the role of the press and take constructive criticism very seriously. Therefore, an independent judicial investigation has been launched, the results of which are currently pending,” the minister said. “Furthermore, the Naval Court Prosecutor has been instructed by the Supreme Court Prosecutor to investigate the conduct of the Coast GUard durng the said SAR operation,” he added.

Check Also

Tourist rescued from Samaria Gorge; had ignored heatwave warning

A 45-year-old German tourist, who was stranded in an inaccessible mountainous area in the Samaria …